LIMBONIC ART - Dynasty Of The Abhorred
By Chris Bruni
Limbonic Art may be familiar to a lot of U! readers, or at least they should be. Word got around with their debut album, Moon In The Scorpio, where the band, consisting of the duo of Daemon (vocals/guitars/lyricist) and Morfeus (keyboards/programming), were performing their style of Norwegian black metal in a way that most bands weren't doing at the time. They took the symphonic edge of black metal, which was constantly being stereotyped within the scene at the time, and took it to its fullest extent, creating a vast array of explosive, monumental sounds -- sounds of ethereal violence and operatic tones of the damned, sometimes hinting towards the theatrical, but most of all maintaining an atmospheric resonance that could open the gates of hell. The duo stood their ground well and, with just their debut album, easily made a name for themselves. And it was no surprise, mainly because Limbonic Art really couldn't be categorized with their contemporaries.
They would then follow Moon In The Scorpio with the Wagnerian black metal assault of In Abhorrence Dementia, an album which just took the band further, and now, still on Samoth's Nocturnal Art Productions, the band have released their most violent and aggressively atmospheric piece of art, Ad Noctum - Dynasty Of Death. Morfeus was the one up for the interrogation and I asked about the evolution of the band and how they got to this point. "Limbonic Art started out with Daemon back in '93 with a full line-up. They decided to split due to the differences in what the members wanted to achieve musically, and at the time Daemon and I had started to rehearse a bit on our own and found that we suited each other well, and we decided to keep the band name and to keep the band running in its first intent. This led to the recording of the first demo, which led to another demo, and this in turn led us to get in touch with N.A.P. After that we recorded the debut album, Moon In The Scorpio, and from this stage hopefully you will know us."
How did you first get in contact with Samoth?
"Actually N.A.P. got in touch with us after a review in Nordic Vision magazine. We signed with them after our second demo and have been working with them since. Samoth and N.A.P. are doing a great job for us in all ways and they are doing everything possible for us to have the best options, and we have full artistic freedom in what we do. They pay us what they should, when they should (sometimes before they are supposed to, when we need stuff...) and our relations to them are just perfect."
How did the vision for Ad Noctum... originate? This seems to be the most violent album that Limbonic Art have produced. The atmosphere is actually more obscure but at the same time grand (as usual) and eloquent.
"There was a certain feeling that we had to do something different with this album that we were about to do. Personally I'm not a guy that likes to know what I'm about to hear when I put on a record of a band, so we figured that we had to do some changes to keep it interesting for ourselves, but also for our listeners. Some people might not like this and some will, but I think that change is something that we need to do. Imagine eating the same food for five years every day...
"I think we managed to get forth some aggression that was not entirely present on the other albums, and that was something that we were working to get properly done on this one, to get it to really kick some ass. We worked a lot more with the guitars than we had done before and the keyboards are maybe some more difficult layered in the mix, but yet as needed for the whole picture."
The standout element within the band is the symphonic/classically influenced structures. Where does this influence stem from, the influence which gives Limbonic Art great character?
"I don't really like to mention where I, or we for that matter, get inspiration. But for me I guess it is from daily life. I hear something on a commercial, or in a shop... whatever, I don't sit down and suck in inspiration. Inspiration comes to me when it feels like it; you have no control over such things and that's why it is so hard to describe it too... Symphonic elements are not the main important thing, but to me it is multitude and complexity. To me there needs to be something more than just guitars and drums, not in the music I listen to but in the music I create. Sometimes one sound can be everything and sometimes a hundred sounds might not be enough..."
The drum machine has also given the band character, so to speak. How comfortable are you working with a drum machine, as the programming is unreal (especially since I am not a fan of programmed drums, especially in black metal)? Do you see the band using live drums in the future?
"Well, I'm perfectly comfortable with it. We have done it since the start so I think it has become some of what we are. I think that people's thoughts around drum machines within metal music is based upon that it is not a thing that they're used to and new things are things that need to get used to. I program the drums with my keyboard and try to play as 'live' as possible and then straighten it up with a computer later on. The future will tell in time..."
So how do Daemon and yourself collaborate to create the music for Limbonic Art? What are the differences and similarities between you?
"We create the music in collaboration when we rehearse. Sometimes I come up with a melody and arrangements on the synths and present it to Daemon in the rehearsals and we structure it there, or we jam up riffs on the guitars together... there are so many ways in encountering this. I guess the main difference between us is that Daemon is more old school than what I am. He is a few years older than me so naturally he has got more of the older metal in his blood. I am maybe a more futuristic guy, looking for strange sounds and atmospheres, but I think that we work together in a good way. He is open to my views and I'm open to his, and that is the way that we make this band work."
The vocals this time seem to have a more soaring effect, and even though the operatic vocals are taken down a notch with the new album, the overall vocal performance of Daemon again presents itself as an instrument in itself, helping to carry the songs. Comment on the vocal performance this time around...
"I think that I will leave out the vocals; this is Daemon's department solely, and I find myself as amazed as you are with how he does the vocals. We record all the songs when they are finished, musically, and he takes a tape with him and there he conjures up the lyrics and finds the melody lines for how it is to be sung. I don't mess around with how it is done. I just feel lucky having him do it because he does it so well."
Since Daemon is the one who comes up with the lyrics and concepts (it would have been interesting to investigate his obsessions with the themes of death), what of the Egyptian imagery that you have brought forth with Ad Noctum...?
"I have always been fascinated with the ancient Egyptian mythology and I saw this as an opportunity to incorporate this into the imagery of the band. The Egyptians had so much death in their religion and I found this suiting to the atmospheres in the music and the lyrics, which have such an extent of the element of death in them."
Finally, what does the future hold for Limbonic Art? I understand you are ready to headline the Ad Noctum tour in Europe.
"The future for Limbonic Art is as yet a bit uncertain, musically I mean. We still have some gigs to do in relation to the Ad Noctum album [they should be well into the tour by the time this story is out]. There is a headlining tour coming up in just a couple of weeks in Europe and some plans for single standing gigs around, but none of those are certain yet. It's too early to say anything about what is to come musically, but we'll strive on to make better music."
I always wondered what a Limbonic Art show would entail, due to the nature of their music, but the answer to that from Morfeus was simply,
"Come see us."
Well, then hopefully we will see the band on these shores sometime. Right?